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Meet 5 Original YouTubers Who Made YouTube to What It Is Today

YouTube was started in 2005, after 13 years of operation, there are some content creators who are still creating for the site even after a decade of fame. Meet 5 of the very original YouTubers. Their names are known and loved by many, with much of their audience growing up with them through the years.

#5 – Smosh

Founded in 2005 by Ian Hecox and Daniel Padilla, Smosh is a sketch comedy channel. Over its lifetime it has accumulated 23 million subscribers and over 7.5 billion views. The comedy sketches produced for the channel are sorted into series whose installments range from weekly to annual. In 2011 Defy Media, then Alloy Digital, acquired the channel and boosted views by almost 40%. The next year Ian and Daniel expanded to side channels ElSmosh, a channel for Spanish dubbed videos, Shut Up! Cartoons, for animated videos, and a gaming channel named Smosh Games. Over the years they’ve released 4 albums of original and parody songs, crowdfunded a mobile game based off one of their comedy series, and made Smosh: The Movie. However, in 2017 Anthony Padilla left the channel, citing a lack of creative freedom.

#4 – iJustine

For those who were around at the rise of internet culture and the peak of the Yahoo! homepage, iJustine will be a familiar name. Known as a techie, comedian, and lifestyle vlogger, iJustine seemed to be everywhere in the mid-to-late 2000’s. She first came into public view when she made a video about the 300-page phone bill she received. This video garnered millions of views, and caused Yahoo! to feature her multiple times. Her livestream on, a site that tens of millions of people now know as Amazon-owned, sometimes reached 4,000 concurrent viewers. Justine leveraged her popularity into an acting and television personality career, signing with the United Talent Agency in 2013. Today her YouTube channel sits at a respectable 5.1 million subscribers and over 900 million views.

#3 – Shane Dawson

Unlike some others on this list, Shane Dawson has adapted and remained relevant throughout his career. But to see how amazing his position is now we must look back at from whence he came. In 2008 Shane started posting comedy sketches on his channel. They featured his friends and family, and this was something that quickly got him in trouble. He and his family all lost their jobs when a video filmed at their workplace was seen by the company. That was just the first of several controversies and struggles that Shane had to overcome. As he’s grown older he’s become more open about himself with his audience, including disclosing his bisexuality and his struggle with body dysmorphia. And, having made it through all this with varying degrees of success, on August 1st, 2018, Shane posted a video that launched him to new heights. Posted as the first of a 5-part, mini-documentary style series, “The Secret World of Jeffree Star” gained over 20 million views, making it the #1 trending video on YouTube that day. The rest of the series garnered over 83 million views altogether, with 70 million of those being in the first two weeks.

#2 – Nigahiga

Ryan Higa, a Las Vegas-based comedian and actor, started on YouTube in 2006. Between 2009 and 2011 he was the most subscribed channel on the site. That 677 day record has only been broken by the current reigning king, PewDiePie. Currently Nigahiga is the 36th most subscribed channel and has over 3.8 billion views. Ryan started making videos by lip syncing to songs with friends, and naturally progressed to skits. Unlike most West USA YouTubers he does not live in LA. He studied nuclear medicine in Las Vegas, and remained there afterwards. In 2008 he starred in Ryan and Sean’s Not So Excellent Adventure, a movie that showed in sold-out theaters across Hawaii and California. Today, Ryan continues making comedy content and vlog-style chat videos to interact with his community.


#1 – Philip DeFranco

Philip DeFranco may be the content creator who has undergone the most drastic change in the 12 years since he started posting. In 2006 Philip was known for shock-jock humor and a ‘sexy’ tabloid production style. He posted clickbait celebrity news, many times with a female celebrity in the thumbnail. But as the years matured so did DeFranco. Today he is the host of the Philip DeFranco Show (PDS), one of YouTubes most respected news roundups. 5 days a week he sits down and gives an overview of major world, political, socioeconomic, celebrity, and YouTuber news. Many times after giving the facts of the story he’ll discuss his viewpoint, a style that is loved and loathed in equal measure. Regardless, Philip DeFranco has gained the respect of many large YouTubers, including Gabbie Hanna of TheGabbieShow, who only spoke to DeFranco when dealing with the controversial situation surrounding RiceGum smashing her phone.


Whether you used to like them or still do, these are a few of the channels that helped grow and shape YouTube into the site it is today. As a whole, all these channels adapted to the modern YouTube scene or moved to other entertainment industries to diversify and capitalize on their YouTube success



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